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Aspect Ratio Documentation

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Bob Furmanek, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Cinematographer

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    The VHS version of EXCALIBUR was actually pan-and-scan, which suggests that they shot with a hard-matte in camera. The old Warner Bros. letterboxed LaserDisc was 1.85:1 and the framing looked fine. I don't know why the newer master used for the DVD and HD versions is zoomed in and more tightly framed.
    Vincent
     
  2. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Stunt Coordinator

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    That's right, I remember getting an answer from Warners that the film was hard-matted at 1.85:1. Curious, then, why the HD versions would look as if TV Safe had been matted rather than the true matte.
    The BD of A ROOM WITH A VIEW from Warners/BBC is cropped to 1.78, rather than its original 1.66. The new BD of ROOM from Film4 in the UK claims to be at 1.66. It'll be interesting to see if this is true or if they are simply reusing the master used for the Warners/BBC American release. I really do wish these things would be standardized world wide; if a film is shot 1.66, show it in 1.66. Sony has retained the 1.66 for JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL and A PASSAGE TO INDIA and it's not causing a panic with buyers as to why there are black bars to the left and right.
     
  3. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    For the record, when it comes to BBC and HBO releases, Warner just packages what they're given. All the authoring is done by BBC or HBO, so in this case BBC would be the ones that made the decision to go 1.78:1.
     
  4. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Stunt Coordinator

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    I understand packaging, since I'm in the industry and have been for twenty years. It wasn't a criticism I was stating, but a fact. The ROOM Blu-ray came from Warners/BBC and it is cropped. It probably goes deeper than that since cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts approved it, he may have been the one to okay the 1.78 crop. He also shot A PRIVATE FUNCTION at 1.66, but that is cropped to 1.78 on Image Entertainment's BD, though of course Image was doubtless only working with what they were given. The moral of the story: seeing these films in their OAR is probably something one can only do in a revival theater... but certainly not if they are using a DCP from a master that was prepped for home video. I was excited to see RAGING BULL at the Egyptian in Hollywood and unfortunately it was a DCP made from such a master, meaning that the famous opening title sequence was window boxed (to prevent cut off by over scan), and the rest of the film popped into full 1.85. It's very irritating and ugly, and certainly not Scorsese's intention. Even film-loving theaters like the Egyptian are beginning to screen DCP's more and more... because that's what studios are allowing them....
     
  5. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    I wasn't criticizing either; just clarifying the source of the release.
     
  6. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    You just made my day. I didn't know that there is a new Blu-ray release of A Room with a View in the UK and it's region-free! I've been wanting to get the out-of-print BD forever but haven't been willing to pay $50 for it. Buying this new release at Amazon UK would come out to less than $18 shipped. Gosh, should I pull the trigger or wait for a review :huh:
     
  7. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    July 18, 1953. It was not cheap upgrading to the New Screen Techniques.
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/image/id/865703/width/511/height/700
     
  8. Doctorossi

    Doctorossi Supporting Actor

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    So... what qualifies as a "reasonable method of film and sound reproduction"? :cool:
     
  9. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    I suspect any projection system or lamp house that wasn't home made!
    Note the reference to 2.66:1 as the widest possible ratio.
     
  10. Doctorossi

    Doctorossi Supporting Actor

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    I'm intrigued by the rationale behind the comment about 2:1. I wonder how many installations this company was involved in and what role they played in the quasi-standardization around 2:1 screen dimensions as a catch-all compromise ratio. I'm glad we've left that part of this era behind, but we've replaced it with a new breed of ill-considered approaches (horizontal scrims lowering to create an undersized 'Scope ratio, for example).
     
  11. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Universal-International was the big champion of 2.00:1. Most of their features (starting with BORDER RIVER which began filming on June 3, 1953) were composed for that ratio.
    Superscope was intended for 2.00:1 as well.
     
  12. zoetmb

    zoetmb Second Unit

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    The "Concert for Bangladesh" was shot 16mm and blown up to 70mm and in the transition from 1.33 to 2.2 lost a good deal of the frame in the process. There was plenty of grain, but it still looked great.
     
  13. zoetmb

    zoetmb Second Unit

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    That's why out of roadshow and the primary first-run theatres on Broadway, Los Angeles and a few in Chicago and San Francisco, very few theatres actually went 4-track mag for 35mm Cinemascope. And those that did got rid of it as soon as the first time the heads wore out, which was actually pretty quick due to the tight wrap necessary around the sound heads to prevent flutter.
     
  14. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    On the contrary, by January 30 1954, 4 track magnetic stereo was heard in large cities across the country and in many small towns as well. Even drive-ins had stereophonic sound systems!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    The Lamar Theatre in Jackson, MS which had about 1200 seats put the 4-track mag in when Cinemascope was installed. The owner of the theatre would use the 4-track whenever he could until he closed the theatre in 1975. The last 35mm 4-track I remember experiencing was a re-release of Doctor Zhivago. Even on the Blu-ray today, the train traveling through the tunnel at the beginning of the 2nd half does not sound as exciting as it did in the theatre that time.

    The theatre never showed a roadshow release nor did it ever have 70mm installed. It played MGM, UA, Warner, and Disney as a rule. The other theatre in town also had 4-track mag, but rarely used it after they showed The Sound Of Music first run, but not as a roadshow. They played Fox, Columbia, Paramount, and Universal. Interesting that I remember that the Paramount actually enlarged the screen left and right for scope films, while the Lamar would mask off the top and bottom for the scope prints.
     
  16. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Very interesting Allen, thanks for sharing. Stereophonic sound was installed in big and small theaters throughout the country, and the systems remained in place and were utilized for many years.
    In 1978, I worked at the RKO Theater in Millburn, New Jersey. They still had their 1953 magnetic sound equipment and I remember they used it for a film called THE NORSEMAN with Lee Majors. I also brought in some reels of FLAMING STAR which the operator ran for us after hours.
    I forgot to mention the dates on the above clippings: the Altec article is 1/30/54 and the drive-in ad and small town article are both from 4/17/54.
     
  17. John Weller

    John Weller Stunt Coordinator

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    One for the experts: was The Time Machine shown theatrically in stereo?
     
  18. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Producer

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    Growing up, none of my local cinemas has stereo. The first time I can remember being aware of stereo is when I saw 2001 in London's West End, not only that, but all the 50's cinemascope films I loved, I saw on our little 4x3 b/w telly. So seeing these films in stereo & wide screen, well it's a great time to be a film fan.
     
  19. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Growing up in North West London, the only local cinema which had stereo in the '50s which i went to was the Granada, Harrow. Granada were known for being a cinema chain which was in the forefront of installing stereo. The Granada screen was also much wider than all the other local cinemas.
     
  20. Bob Furmanek

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    I don't think so. The new stereo mix was created for home video. Can anybody confirm?
    There's been some discussion about SUMMERTIME on another thread and another website, but just to keep all the documentation in one place.
    [​IMG]
    It began shooting mid-July of 1954 in Venice. It would certainly have been composed for widescreen.
     

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